Meet Rae Elliott. She is a sci-fi & fantasy author, blogger, Ent hugger, and Wampa whisperer. But most importantly, Rae believes all teens can write fandom-worthy fiction. Rae shares her writing tips for success over at her blog Barely Hare Books.com. You can also check out her latest fantasy fiction novella Guppies here.
I asked Rae how old she was when she started writing, and if she always wanted to be a writer. She explains, "My love for writing began when I was just eight years old. I remember writing a story about a mouse living in a shoe, sharing it with my class and being bitten by the writing bug ever since. I can’t say that earlier than that I thought about writing. I was probably too busy running barefoot on the lawn with our family’s four dogs to care about anything else! But ever since that experience when I was 8 years old, I felt that no matter what hobby I enjoyed, I loved writing the most. I felt a much deeper connection to the page than I did with anything else!"
When I asked Rae if she planned to make writing her full-time career she said, "I don’t want my career of any kind to be full time. I like to keep work in its place and keep my focus simple. I love writing and would enjoy making a humble living from it, but I am totally okay with not becoming a wildly famous author. In that way, I think writing stays a passion for me and not a day job I quickly hate."
Rae's most recently published novel is a YA contemporary fantasy novella titled Guppies. When asked to give a brief synopsis of her novel she said, "It’s basically about a kid named Daniel Wittiker who meets someone from the Dream Realm, namely, his Dream Commander. For reasons I can’t reveal, she wants to destroy her homeworld and Daniel is her key to achieving that. However, Daniel meets the love of his life and she becomes the Dream Commanders new target. So Daniel has to do something he’s never done before: be brave (oh and sacrifice his life for someone he loves. No biggy.)"
When asked about her favorite character in this novel, Rae said, "To be honest I like every character for what they bring to the table. From everyone to Daniel’s mother, a primped barbie doll with a thick Boston accent, to his little brother, a science geek with a crush on the school bus driver. But, If I HAD to pick faves, I’d say Daniel or Cassidy Evans are my faves. Cassidy is the new girl on the block Daniel falls for. Their relationship is a sweet one and I like how they play off of each other."
I asked Rae if she'd always written YA contemporary fantasy and she said, "Ha, *sweats* noooo, this is a genre I’ve never written in before. When I created this book, I actually had no intention of publishing it. It was just a personal test: write a storyline unlike any I’ve ever written before with characters I didn’t have much in common with. But when I shared it with my husband, he encouraged me to publish it. So, really happy with the fun story that came from it, I did!"
When asked what her favorite part of the writing process was Rae said, "My favorite part of the writing process is creating scenes of dialogue. I try to fill my scenes with more dialogue and action than narration because I feel that it makes the story move at an energetic, interesting pace. Nowadays it takes sooo little for indie authors to lose their audience and I try to keep mine engaged with fun, light, yet profoundly meaningful, creative storylines and characters." When asked what she considered the hardest part of the writing process she replied, "The hardest part is always marketing and getting my book ready for publishing on platforms. Inevitably 100 things go wrong with formatting or getting it published through a source like Amazon or something. And being naturally introverted and shy, I don’t like marketing. It’s really difficult for me to promote my stuff because it oddly feels like bragging and I almost always feel like “come on who would read this” so I just send like one tweet out there and I’m like “there, I marketed the heck out of my book” *wipes hands and walks away*."
I asked Rae if she had any writing quirks and she said, "Quirks. Ah. I don’t think this is a quirk because I think every writer out there is guilty of this but I love looking up actors and actresses to play my characters. I line them up on my computer screen and then listen to my “writing” playlist on Spotify and get typing." As far as her favorite writing tools and programs she said, "I use Scrivener but I’ll sometimes just write in a notebook to separate myself from a messy scene. I think it helps me de-tangle a sloppy or lackluster scene."
When asked if any other authors had inspired her Rae said, "Yessssss. My parents read to my brother and I every night. We adventured through so many novels that inspired my imagination and still inspire my work. First of all, classic authors like Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Charlotte Brönte, Lewis Carrol. And some current authors I love are Neal Shusterman, author of the Arc of a Scythe series and Marie Brennan, author of A Natural History of Dragons."
Rae also has advice for writers just starting out on their writing journey stating, "Read as much as you can get your hands on. And be humble. The adventure is an awesome one if you let it be. So learn from critique, stay positive, keep building your education, and write just for the love of it."
I asked Rae about her plans for future books. She said, "I am currently writing the sequel to Guppies, called Piranhas. And this time, the Dream Realm is at war. Daniel is stuck in the middle again, but this time his best friends become his enemies. You’ll meet some new faces and see the return of some old ones!"
To wrap up our interview, I asked Rae what she was currently reading. She replied, "I’m currently reading A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan!"
If you're interested in reading Rae's books or would like to find out more information about her, you can do so at the links below: